How to Deal With Criticism as a Writer

Criticism can be hurtful we all deal with it in different ways, ensure you don’t ruin a writers day.

Last week, I had a day from hell. I was trying to complete my manuscript, whilst keeping my posting schedule on track. I committed the sin of publishing a post that I hadn’t checked completely. We have all done the same. I am here to tell you that it is okay to be upset by criticism.

Mistakes are learning opportunities

After the post was published the criticism came. Some of it productive and some of it harsh. Within one day I didn’t get criticism from one post, but two. I felt deflated and angry, The last comment was too much and I chose to ignore it. It seemed it was my day to be the recipient of many peoples frustration.

Criticism hurts whenever it comes and that is okay. As writers, we should expect criticism, being affected by it is human.

Three types of criticism

There are three types of criticism you may receive as a writer. The first is genuine. These come in the form of personal messages and email. They are not meant to belittle you but instead support you. If you see a mistake in a writer’s work, it is always nice to drop them a private note. It is not okay, however, to call their professionalism into question. We all need a gentle helping hand at times, treat others how you would like to be treated.

The second type of criticism can be hard to detect. You tend to notice it over a couple of weeks. Initially, it looks like I’m a friend trying to help you. However, it is relentless. Everything you publish ends up being criticised. This is a writer wrapped up as a friend whose main purpose is to belittle you. I like to call this the passive-aggressive criticiser. These hurt the most as you had thought them a friend.

The last type of criticism is a troll. Plain and simple they will look for posts, to attack the writer. If you think you have one of these I would advise looking at their other comments. See if they make a habit of this thing. If they do you have your answer. If they don’t, still doesn’t mean they aren’t a troll. For this criticiser there is only one cause of action, hit block and go about your day.

When giving criticism

When you are offering advice on peoples work it is important to ensure that you do it in the right way. There are several things you can do, to ensure your comments are received in the manner you intended them.

It helps to know your audience. I take time with all the teaching I get to know the student. Some will want direct criticism, some you will need to be more gentle with. I have several writers on my course, that if I responded to them with criticism I would stop them writing.

For these people, you use a criticism sandwich. Simply put good news, bad news, good news. This method allows them to take in the criticism, but have something to smile about as well.

The number one rule when dealing with people is to treat them how you would like to be treated.

Remember when we give people criticism we never know what is going on with them. On the day when I received my criticism, I had been caring for my partner. Looking after two children, trying to work full-time and trying to progress my writing career. You never know what people have going on at home, especially in these times. Be kind.

Why is it okay to be upset by criticism.

Taking everything into consideration, there will still be times when criticism from anyone hurts. This is okay, it is okay to be passionate about your work. It is okay to feel bad when people make negative comments.

If like me you have spent a long time working on your career and articles, you will be upset. There is nothing like criticism to start imposter syndrome. We all have stuff going on at home and many of us are trying to survive in financial difficulty. Being upset is only natural.

Humans can only take so much, we don’t have an infinite amount of shit we can take. Sometimes one comment can be the top of other troubles. It can be the one thing that pushes you over the edge. We are all human, take time to deal with your feelings don’t stuff them down, it isn’t healthy for anyone.

Sometimes it feels like someone has told you, your child is ugly.

All writers have good and bad days. Not even the best writer in the world is perfect. They all have a team of people around them to make them look perfect. Many of us are on our own.

It is also okay to not publish when you are feeling low. On hindsight, I shouldn’t have published the post without thoroughly checking it. At the time I was tired and it looked good enough for me.

We all make mistakes so hold your head up high if you have ever been called out for making one. Sometimes you can learn from criticism and sometimes it is best to ignore it for a day you are stronger.

Sam H Arnold is a UK writer and blogger. Click here to take you writing to the next level and start earning three figures a month, by joining her coaching program.  To follow all her work find her on Facebook or join her Email List.

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